Sunday, April 10, 2011

Unsung heroes

I am sure we all know a person in our life who is a celebrity or has done something great. I haven’t had my share of celebrity friends (yet) but I think I know some truly great people. And here is a description of one of them.

We went for a company team building event yesterday. It involved a trek to a fort. I geared up in my usual shorts and t-shirt attire and off we went for the trek. Since its scorching hot in and around Mumbai these days, I carried a 2 litre disposal water bottle with me.

At the destination I figured that there were around 70 of us and most of us had anticipated the heat and were carrying huge water bottles. Now the average age of a person in my organization is 27 something. For such outings that average goes down to 24 something (yeah I was above average!). So you can imagine the entire group was young and fairly educated. That fits in the definition of – environmentally conscious people.

The trek was extremely exhaustive and in no time, we all finished all the water that we were carrying. The inclines were rather steep, and carrying anything on us was extremely tiring. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that a few youngsters started discarding their used bottles on the nature trail. It was disturbing, but considering that the circumstances that we were in, I felt it was “okay”. I kept mum (yeah I didn’t throw away my bottle – cause I didn’t find it that inconvenient).

The crusader

I have this friend cum colleague that I know for close to 7 years now. He fits the usual definition of what we call “a perfect guy”. Smart, intelligent, humble and nice. But what he did yesterday bowled me over. As everyone started discarding their bottles, he silently collected them on the trail. Without making any fuss about anything, he stuffed in as many plastic bottles that he could in his sack. Even after his sack was full he found out a novel way to carry more of those bottles on himself that involved using a rope to awkwardly tie the bottles around his waist. Just so that people don’t notice he kept at the back of the entire group. Now imagine doing all this on a difficult trek, all the way up and then bringing the bottles all the way down, only to discard them at the nearest bin that he found at the foothill!

We consider ourselves environmentally conscious, but how many times have we gone out of our way to protect it? Considering that the entire group was in the new generation, I would have assumed that we are more conscious of our environment. I have a million times seen people throw stuff here and there. But I never bother to go pick it up and throw it in a bin, if the person doesn’t do so. I just give them that “oh you are so uncivilized” look and walk away.

As for my friend, he generally likes to keep a low profile. But what he did yesterday proved to me that if you are really passionate about a cause, you will go to any extent to defend it. And after I noticed what he did, I feel bad that I didn’t even bother to help him in his crusade!